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Legalities around words / phrases / names?

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Hey everyone,

 

I have a new game genre idea I was brainstorming and am curious about what we can use in terms of words / phrases.

 

For example: I want to use these two words "Baal Runs", which stemmed from the game Diablo 2. Is it okay to use those words together like that within my game?

 

Also, maybe "Greater Rifts", or "Rogue Encampment", or maybe town names, boss names?

 

My game will be free 2 play with microtransactions. These microtransactions ARE not bound or include any of these words.  The art for my game is completely custom and unrelated to Diablo 2 or any other game.

 

I am wondering where the line is drawn here.The text is also not being used to copy lore, or plagiarizing quest descriptions either. It's literally just these couple of words / phrases. Thanks in advance!

Edited by WombatTurkey

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I am wondering where the line is drawn here.

That depends on where you draw your risk tolerance line. To be safest, make up your own phrases.
If you don't mind risking a cease and desist order or a lawsuit, use any trademarked phrases (or any
phrases that might be considered trademarked) that you like.

If it was me, I'd make up my own phrases.

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I am wondering where the line is drawn here.

That depends on where you draw your risk tolerance line. To be safest, make up your own phrases.
If you don't mind risking a cease and desist order or a lawsuit, use any trademarked phrases (or any
phrases that might be considered trademarked) that you like.

If it was me, I'd make up my own phrases.

 

 

 

Thanks for the fast response. I agree and will most likely do that. It's just kind of hard as this is a simulation type of game and that kind of phrase (example "Baal Runs"), is well known. Hmm, this sucks then. Better safe than sorry though right

Edited by WombatTurkey

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The phrase is well known because it's meaningful in the context of Diablo 2. So you're not really just asking "can I use those words" but actually "can I use this term from a game to refer to a concept that I'll be taking also from that game", which instantly tips the balance towards looking like infringement.

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Baal run is should be fine.  The term was created by gamers to describe something in game (I could be wrong on my history so feel free to correct me) so it is not owned by Blizzard. I doubt Blizzard trademarked the village names because the game is not making money just because of the name of a village, but if they created unique names then its possible. Also names like "rouge encampment" would be even harder to trademark because it is a descriptive term.  (Can always ask a licensed lawyer if you want to be sure.)  But using them is defiantly evidence of copyright infringement since it is a similarity between the two games.  That being said anything that is taken from history is not* copyrightable.  So if you use the name Athens, you are fine.  or even the name Baal, since those are historic references.  So remember: unique names - don't use; historical or descriptive terms - generally ok.   

 

*Historic things are not copyrightable but the expression of them are.  So I can write my own historical fictional book about the slaves in early america I'm good., but if i copy uncle toms cabin I would be in trouble. 

 

Feel free to look up trade marks here:

 

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4802:v4au11.1.1

Edited by N1njaSt0rm

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but if i copy uncle toms cabin I would be in trouble.


That book is in the public domain now. The author died in 1896, 120 years ago.

 

 

 

Haha ok bad example.  It was just the first historical fiction book i could think of.  Ok then if I copied "Gone with the Wind". Mitchell has only been dead for 67 years so that one is still covered. 

Edited by N1njaSt0rm

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